Here’s an easy-to-follow, foolproof recipe for fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth Dahi Bhalla (or Dahi Baray). This recipe includes tips and tricks to get them soft yet fully cooked inside. Tested to perfection!

Dahi Bhalla (Dahi Bharay) in a bowl with mint chutney and green chutney on top.

“This recipe is AMAZING!! I never attempted to make dahi bhallas because of how technical it can be but I have already made this 4-5 times and the bhallas come out perfect every single time. Super soft and fluffy.”

Kiran

I’m going to say something a food blogger must never say about a recipe they’re about to share: Dahi Bhalle are finicky. That’s why even seasoned cooks often resort to box mixes and pre-made dumplings.

But I’m also here to tell you that you can, indeed, make Dahi Bhalle – soft, fluffy, sweet and savory ones. And that too without fussing or guessing or fretting. All you need are a few ratios and tips, which I’ve done my best to convey in this recipe.

A plate of Dahi Bhalla heavily garnished with chutneys.

The 3 Tips to making Dahi Bhalla Foolproof

Now that we’ve established that Dahi Bhalla are naturally a little finicky, there are a few things we can do to minimize their risk factor:

  1. Cheat and use baking powder. It makes them softer. In fact, the more you add, the softer they’ll be. I like to use just enough so they’re noticeably but not artificially soft.
  2. Make a double batch. A small batch, which I’ve shared in the pictures, video, and recipe card works fine. But after several tests, I’ve found a larger quantity just blends easier and better. Plus, you get to freeze the rest for later.
  3. Make the bhallas smaller (around 1 tbsp, max 1.5). Restaurants/Chaat Houses often serve large bhallas, but I found that the smaller ones are softer, absorb more yogurt, and fry better.

For more tips, scroll to my Troubleshooting Bhallas Table.

Dahi Bhallas made with dal, doused in yogurt, and topped with chutney and spices.

What is Dahi Bhalla?

Dahi Bhalla is a popular Indian and Pakistani snack in which lentil dumplings (bhallas) are doused in yogurt (dahi) and topped with sweet and spicy chutneys. Categorically, it fits in the realm of chaat, a term that refers to the wide variety of street foods like fruit chaat, papri chaat, samosa chaat, and so much more.

Dahi Bhallas are festive and people often make them during holidays like Ramadan and Eid.

Dahi Bhalla vs Dahi Vada

Depending on the region, the name and ingredients vary slightly:

  • Punjab – Dahi Bhalla (plural Dahi Bhalle/Bhallay).
  • Urdu – Dahi Bara (plural Dahi Baray).
  • Parts of India – Dahi Vada.
Closeup of Dahi Bhalla in bowl garnished with chutneys and spices.

Ingredients You’ll Need

There are 3 ingredient categories: The Bhallas, the yogurt, and the toppings.

Ingredients for Bhallas

  • Split & husked (or dhuli) Urad Dal: Also known as Maash ki Dal, this is the most commonly used dal for Dahi Bhallas. Maash ki dal is mild, creamy, and starchy, which translates well into batter form.
  • Chana Dal (split gram lentils): Using only maash ki dal can give one-dimensional flavor, so many recipes add moong dal along with maash. Chana dal, though not so commonly used, gives a beautiful flavor and texture to the bhallas. You could try using equal weight in moong dal but I’ve yet to try it myself.
  • Flavor enhancers: I add garlic, ginger, red chili pepper, and salt along with cumin seeds.
Ingredients in Dahi Bhalla

Ingredients for Yogurt

  • Yogurt: Use plain, whole milk yogurt. Because yogurt can vary in its thickness and natural sugars, you may need to adjust the liquid and sugar quantities in the recipe.
  • Milk and water: Both are used to thin out the yogurt. You can use only milk if you’d like, but I like using a bit of water to get it extra runny.
  • Spices: I add red chili powder and Chaat Masala directly to the yogurt, but you can keep it simple with just sugar and salt. I developed the recipe with store-bought chaat masala because I know that’s what most people have. If using homemade chaat masala, add additional salt, sugar, and heat if needed. You can also try using dahi bara chaat masala, which is made specifically for dahi bhalle.
Dahi Bhallas partly eaten in a bowl with silver spoon.

Ingredients for Topping

I’ve shared quick and easy recipes for the chutneys if you’d like to make yours at home. Both recipes make a small batch, enough for double the recipe. Store leftovers airtight in the fridge.

Chutney Recipes

Imli (Tamarind) Ki Chutney

This tangy and sweet chutney is a pretty compulsory dahi bhalla topping. You can either use your favorite store-bought version or use my 1-minute recipe. 

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp water, preferably hot/boiling
  • 1 tbsp tamarind concentrate (I’ve tried Indira’s brand and Tamicon)
  • 1/8 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  1. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients in the order listed. Refrigerate or allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes so that the sugar dissolves and the chutney thickens up.

Mint and Cilantro Green Chutney

This is like my mint raita but without the yogurt.

  • 1/2 cup (~10-12 g) cilantro leaves
  • 3 tbsp (~3-4 g) mint leaves, try not to use stems
  • 1 slice Serrano pepper or small Thai green chili pepper, deseeded (choose how thick the slice depending on how spicy you’d like)
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp water, as needed to blend
  1. Add all the ingredients to small blender or spice grinder. Blend, until it reaches a fine consistency. If needed, add 1-2 tablespoon more water to make it easier to blend. It should become a runny paste, with the leaves no longer visible. If needed, strain excess water to get the desired consistency.

How to Make Dahi Bhalla

  • Soak the dal: I know! Who remembers to soak? But this can’t be skipped. Soak for 8 hours at least, but not more than 24 or it’ll start fermenting😅. Soaking really does contribute to softer bhallas because they’ll just blend better.
Soaked urad dal and chana dal in a beige bowl.
  • Make the Bhalla batter: This may be the only tricky part about making Dahi Bhallas. Mainly, you need to add just the right amount of water. Initially, I’d see many recipes that would caution against adding any extra water, which ended up giving me dry, tough bhallas. Then I started watering the dang things, and I was left with doughy, uncooked centers. That’s why I’ve given you a max and min range. Constraints are healthy.
Blended Urad dal and chana dal batter
  • Whisk the batter: Many recipes suggest whisking the batter for a good 8-10 minutes. I didn’t find this step necessary. As long as you get some (vigorous!) aeration in, the batter will be light and spongy.
  • Test: I saw this first on the legendary Veg Recipes of India’s Dahi Bhalla recipe. To test to see if the batter is aerated enough, drop a bit of batter in a bowl of water. If it floats, that means it’s aerated enough.
Whisked Dahi Bhalla Batter in a bowl.
  • Fry the Bhallas. Fry the bhallas over medium heat so they don’t brown too quickly and have enough time to cook from the inside.
Frying Bhallas in a Dutch Oven.
  • Soak the bhallas: Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate before immediately transfering to the water bath. I haven’t found that the temperature of the water matters here, but I usually go for lukewarm. You’ll know they’ve soaked long enough when the color gets lighter and they’ve lost their firmness.
  • Remove water: Squeeze each bhalla between the hollows of your hands to drain the water out. Then transfer to your serving platter.
  • Prepare yogurt: This part is completely adaptable. Adjust to taste if you want the yogurt plain, sweeter, tangier, or spicier.
Whisked yogurt in a bowl for Dahi Bhallas.
  • Assemble. Pour the yogurt over the bhallas (or drop the bhallas in the yogurt), making sure the bhallas are appropriately doused. Before serving, top with chutneys and sprinkle with chaat masala and red chili powder.
Dahi Bhalla (Dahi Bharay) served in a bowl with toppings on the side.

Troubleshooting Bhallas

As much as I’d like to forget it, my engineering background cannot escape me. And I do think tables are the answer for so many food-related frustrations. (If you like data, check out my biryani rice tables.)

ProblemWhat May Have Gone WrongSolution
Dal batter won’t grind well.
The soaking time may have been short or the dals may be aged.The batter needs more water & dals need to be blended longer (2+ minutes).
Stiff/tough/hard bhallas.The batter needs more water.After you’ve added the initial water, add an extra 1 tbsp of water.
Dense bhallas.The batter needs more aeration.Whisk longer or more vigorously.
Bhallas are uncooked or raw from the center.The batter may have been too watery.
The bhallas may not have fried long enough to cook on the inside.
Use less water.
Fry the bhallas for longer. Check for doneness by cutting one open.
Bhallas are developing dome shape while frying.The oil is likely too hot, causing the dough from the inside to ooze out.Reduce heat so the bhallas can fry evenly.
Batter too thin or watery.Too much water in the batter.If you haven’t exceeded the water limit, this probably won’t happen. If it does, add 1/2 tbsp of gram flour, rice flour, or semolina. Try not to add too much as it can cause tough bhallas.
A bhalla cut open to show texture.

How to Freeze Bhallas

Dahi Bhallas are incredibly freezer-friendly! Here’s how to freeze them:

  1. Once you’ve fried the bhallas, allow them to cool.
  2. Place in an airtight container or zip-lock bag. Store in freezer for up to 3 months. (Side note: I’ve tested freezing both before and after the water bath and it was very clear that they’re best stored before the water bath. There’s too much texture loss if you squeeze out water and then freeze.)
  3. When ready to use, transfer to a bowl of hot water. Allow to soak for 40 minutes.
  4. Squeeze out water as directed before proceeding with the recipe.

More Storage Tips

  • Fridge: Store them in an airtight container or zip-top bag in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • Storing bhalla batter: Bhalla batter can be kept in the fridge up to overnight before the baking powder starts to lose its effect. You may notice a bit of water rise to the top. Whisk before using to aerate the batter.

Dahi Bhalla Toppings

  • Essentials: Imli ki Chutney, Green Chutney, Chaat Masala, Red Chili Powder or Paprika
  • Papri: These are round, crispy, fried disks that you can find at Indian/Pakistani grocery stores.
  • Sev: Also available at Desi grocery stores, these are small pieces of crunchy noodles often made from chickpea flour.
  • Pomegranate Arils: I haven’t tried this myself but when is pomegranate a bad idea?
  • Onion, Boiled Potatoes, & Chickpeas: For dahi bhalla chaat vibes.
Dahi Bhalla with toppings on the side.

Final Tips

  • Instead of cranking the heat high and then lowering, heat the oil over medium heat. It maintains the heat better.
  • To have less dishes to clean: Instead of transfering the batter to a bowl, just whisk for a minute in the blender. Also, whisk the yogurt in the pan you’ll serve it in.
  • To make a flatter shape: Flatten the bhallas while squeezing out the water. It may break a little, but you’ll get a flatter shape.
  • On baking soda: After experimenting with baking soda, I found that while baking soda slightly puffs up the bhallas, too much can make the outside crispy. You can experiment with adding a little if you’d like (1/4 tsp), but I didn’t find it necessary and therefore didn’t include in the final recipe.
Partly eaten Dahi bhallas in a white bowl with a silver spoon.

Tried this recipe? If you have a minute, please consider leaving a comment & star rating below and telling me how it was! If you’re on Instagram, please tag me so I can see your creations. I truly love hearing from you! Thank you!

Dahi Bhalla (Dahi Bharay) in a bowl with mint chutney and green chutney on top.
5 (6 ratings)

Dahi Bhalla (Dahi Baray) – Foolproof!

Here's an easy-to-follow, foolproof recipe for fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth Dahi Bhalla (or Dahi Baray). This recipe includes troubleshooting tips and tricks to get them soft yet fully cooked inside. Tested to perfection!

Ingredients 

For the Bhallas – (Suggest Doubling – See Note 1)

  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp (80 g) maash ki dal (dhuli urad dal)
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) chana dal (split gram lentils)
  • 3/4 cup water, for soaking
  • 1 small garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 inch ginger, roughly chopped
  • ¼-1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, add after blending
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder, See Note 2
  • Neutral oil, for frying

For the Yogurt

  • 2 cups (490 g) plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) whole milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp cane sugar, or to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp chaat masala
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste

For Topping and Serving on the Side

  • Tamarind Chutney (Imli Ki Chutney), store-bought or homemade (quick recipe in post)
  • Mint and Cilantro Green Chutney (Pudina Chutney), store-bought or homemade (quick recipe in post)
  • 2 tbsp red or sweet onion, quartered and thinly sliced or chopped
  • chaat masala
  • red chili powder, for color
  • optional toppings, such as papri (my favorite!) or pomegranate arils – see post for more topping ideas

Equipment

  • Blender (Will need small or narrow blender for 1 batch, regular for double batch)

Instructions 

  • Soak Lentils: Combine lentils in a small bowl. Wash until the water runs clear, then drain the water. Add water for soaking (3/4 cup for 1 batch, 1 1/2 cup for double batch). Cover and allow to soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours, up to 24 hours.
  • Prepare Batter (Blend): Strain the dals very well, reserving the dal water. Add dals to a blender (See Note 1) along with 1/4 cup the reserved dal water (1/2 cup for double batch). Add garlic, ginger, red chili powder, and salt. Process for 2-3 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides or distribute, until it’s smooth with no dal kernels. It should form a thick, smooth, barely pourable paste, thicker than pancake batter. If it’s having trouble blending and needs more water to grind, add another 1 tablespoon of reserved water and blend again until smooth. (Do not add more water than this – it can lead to a watery batter and cause doughy bhallas that won’t cook through.)
  • Whisk Batter: Transfer to a bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with a fitted whisk attachment. Add cumin seeds and baking powder. Whisk the batter vigorously for 1 minute to aerate. Alternately, use a stand mixer with a fitted whisk attachment and whisk on med-high (6) for 1 minute. Test to see if a drop of batter floats on top of a bowl of water (See Note). If not, whisk again for another minute.
  • Preheat oil: Heat a medium frying pan or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add oil so that it’s about 1.5-2”/4-5 cm deep. It should be deep enough so batter doesn’t stick to the to bottom. Once the oil is hot, adjust heat level as needed to maintain medium heat (around 320-340°F/160-171°C).
  • Prepare Water Bath: Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with lukewarm water and set aside. Line a plate with paper towels.
  • Fry Bhallas: Gently drop around 1 tbsp of batter into the hot oil. (Cookie scoops work great if you like a round shape!) Fry, turning often, until golden all over, about 10 minutes. You want to ensure they have time to fully cook from the inside.
  • Transfer to water bath: Using a slotted spoon, remove the bhallas and place them on a plate lined with a paper towel. (See Note 4 for Freezing) Then transfer to the bowl of water and allow them to rest for at least 15-20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare yogurt: In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk the yogurt, milk, water, sugar, chaat masala, red chili powder, and salt until smooth with no clumps. The consistency should be like a yogurt raita. If needed, thin out with another tablespoon or two of milk or water. (It'll thicken when stored in the fridge.) Taste and adjust salt, chaat masala for tang/chatpata, red chili powder for spice, and sugar for sweetness.
  • Squeeze out water: Remove the water from bhallas by placing them between the hollows of your palms/fingers and gently but firmly squeezing the water out. (It’s totally okay if you break some – no one will notice.) Transfer to a deep serving platter. Top with the yogurt, ensuring the bhallas are doused in the yogurt.
  • Serve: Ideally, allow to rest for at least 30 minutes so the bhallas have time to soak in the yogurt. If waiting longer, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with Imli ki Chutney, Green Chutney, red onions, chaat masala, and a dash of red chili powder for color. Serve cold or at room temperature with toppings on the side.

Video

Notes

Note 1: Doubling – I suggest doubling the bhalla quantities and making twice the amount because:
1 – The double batch blends better and more easily (1 small batch requires a small/narrow blender while double works well with any blender). It also helps break down the dals very well.
2 – You can do your future self a favor and freeze the rest for another day! (See Note 4 on how to freeze.)
Note 2: Baking powder – Guarantees soft bhallas. 1/2 tsp is good insurance for making them soft. But 3/4 tsp is great insurance. More than 3/4 tsp can make them a bit spongy. 
Note 3: Water Test – To check if the batter has properly aerated, drizzle a piece of batter in a small bowl of water. If it floats, it has aerated enough. If it sinks/dissolves, then continue whisking for another minute and try again.
Note 4: To Freeze –
  • Once you’ve fried the bhallas, allow them to cool.
  • Place in an airtight container or zip-lock bag. Store in freezer for up to 3 months. (Side note: I’ve tested freezing both before and after the water bath and it was very clear that they’re best stored before the water bath. There’s too much texture loss if you squeeze out water and then freeze.)
  • When ready to use, transfer to a bowl of hot water. Allow to soak for 40 minutes.
  • Squeeze out water as directed before proceeding with the recipe.
FINAL NOTE! For more tips and tricks, refer to the table for Troubleshooting Dahi Bhallas. And if something doesn’t work out and you know you’ve followed the recipe, let me know! As Brené Brown says – “I’m not here to be right, I’m here to get it right.”
Calories: 100kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 13mg, Sodium: 491mg, Potassium: 167mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 165IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 167mg, Iron: 1mg